If you’re a restaurant owner, then you know that the industry is always changing and evolving. And with change comes new challenges. You must constantly adapt the way you do things in order to stay ahead of the game and keep your business successful.
But what exactly are the top problems facing restaurants in 2022? And more importantly, how can you solve them?
In this article, we’ll look at the top several challenges and demonstrate how you can avoid them.
The Growth of Online Ordering
One of the biggest changes that’s happened in the restaurant industry in recent years is the rise of online ordering through delivery services and home meal kits. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the number of people ordering food delivery or taking advantage of home meal kit subscriptions.
This trend is only expected to continue, so restaurant owners need to find ways to adapt.
Partner with Delivery Services
Many restaurants are partnering with delivery services. It allows you to reach a wider audience and makes it accessible for customers who may not want to leave their homes. This way, you won’t have to develop nor maintain a delivery system or platform. To compete against other restaurants on the delivery service, consider offering a discount to attract customers.
Offer Home Meal Kits
Home meal kits are a great way to provide customers with an easy way to enjoy restaurant quality meals from home. It can also be a fun activity for those who enjoy cooking.
Restaurant owners can partner with a subscription service to make it even easier for customers to get your food. Let’s say you’re a pizza restaurant. You could partner with a home meal kit service that delivers all the ingredients needed to make your pizza at home.
Focus on Takeaway Orders
Take-away orders are another great option for restaurant owners who want to reach a wider audience. By allowing customers to pick up their order, you can still provide the food they love without having to worry about investing in delivery services.
The Growth of Voice AI Ordering
With AI (artificial intelligence) technology, customers can order food through voice assistants. This solution is already taking off, with major restaurant chains like Starbucks and Dominos using voice AI ordering in their apps.
While this might seem like a threat to restaurants, it’s actually an opportunity. Embracing AI food ordering, you can make it even easier for customers to order from you.
Here are some benefits of using AI ordering:
- Take Orders 24/7: By using voice AI ordering, you can take orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even if your restaurant seating is closed, you can still take orders and generate revenue. For instance, you could offer a late-night menu for customers who want delivery or takeaway after your restaurant is closed.
- Reduce Order Errors: Order errors are one of the biggest problems facing restaurants. But with AI ordering, you can reduce the number of errors by having the system double check orders before they’re sent to the kitchen.
- Upsell and Cross-Sell: Upselling means convincing a customer to buy a more expensive item, while cross-selling is convincing a customer to buy a related product to increase restaurant sales.
“For example, if a customer orders a burger, you could upsell them by convincing them to buy a bigger burger. And if they order a drink, you could cross-sell them with a food item. Instead of relying on order takers to remember to upsell and cross-sell, voice AI ordering automatically upsells and cross-sells customers based on what they’re ordering.”
How SoundHound for Restaurants Can Help
As a restaurant owner, you should embrace AI ordering to take advantage of the benefits it offers. And SoundHound for Restaurants can help you do just that.
SoundHound is a voice AI platform that enables you to build your own voice assistant. Here are some SoundHound features that can be helpful for your restaurant business:
- Always-on guest service: You can use SoundHound For Restaurants to create a voice assistant that’s always ready to take orders. This way, you can take orders 24/7, even when your restaurant seating is closed.
- Custom voice assistant: With SoundHound, you can create a custom voice assistant that reflects your brand and menu. This is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Accuracy: SoundHound natural language understanding (NLU) technology helps you take accurate orders by understanding the customer’s intent. This way, you can reduce order errors and provide excellent customer service.
- Redirect Labor: If you’re a restaurant owner, you know that a tight labor market can make it difficult to find and retain good employees. SoundHound for Restaurants can handle a variety of tasks, from taking orders to making reservations, freeing up your employees to focus on more important tasks.
The Increase in the Minimum Wage
In July 2022, the federal minimum wage increased to $15 per hour. Creative solutions will be necessary to offset the increased labor costs for restaurant staff. Restaurant owners face the decision of raising prices for customers to increase revenue or cutting other costs to save money.
Managing Costs without Raising Prices
While you might be tempted to raise prices to offset the increased labor costs, this is not always the best solution. In fact, it could backfire and cause customers to go to your competitors. Instead, focus on ways to manage your costs without raising prices.
Here are some tips for managing costs:
- Use technology: There are several ways that you can use technology to manage your costs. For instance, you can use a POS system for inventory management and help you make more informed decisions about what to order. You can also use restaurant management software to help schedule restaurant staff more efficiently.
- Automate where possible: There are several tasks that you can automate in your restaurant. For instance, you can use an automated ordering system to place orders for you. SoundHound For Restaurants provides a voice AI phone ordering system that takes orders more efficiently.
- Reduce waste: One of the best ways to reduce costs is to reduce waste. Make sure you’re only ordering what you need and that you’re using all the ingredients you order. You can also reduce food waste by implementing a “no waste” policy in your restaurant.
- Hire and train employees wisely: Another way to reduce costs is to hire and train employees wisely. Make sure you’re hiring employees who are a good fit for your restaurant and that you’re training staff properly. This will help to reduce employee turnover and make staff more efficient.
The Popularity of Food Trucks and Pop-Ups
In recent years, there has been a surge in the popularity of food trucks and pop-ups. These types of businesses offer low start-up costs, the ability to reach a new audience, and the flexibility to move to a new location. However, they also come with many challenges, such as the need to promote your business and the difficulty of standing out in a crowded market.
How to Attract Customers Away from Food Trucks and Pop-Ups
Here are some ways to attract customers away from food trucks and pop-ups:
- Make your restaurant unique: Attract new customers by making your restaurant unique. This can be done by offering an extraordinary dining experience, such as a chef’s table or having a theme that sets your restaurant apart from others.
- Find creative solutions to restaurant marketing challenges: Many restaurant owners struggle to promote their business, especially for new restaurants. Start by creating a website and being active on social media. You can also use traditional marketing methods, such as print ads and flyers.
- Offer discounts and promotions: Another way to attract customers is to offer discounts and promotions exclusively for eating in the restaurant. A special price or free dessert is sure to draw in a new crowd.
How to Work with Food Truck and Pop-Up Owners
Rather than fighting against food trucks and pop-up stores, you can actually work with them to help grow your business. If you’re looking to work with food truck and pop-up owners, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Be flexible: These businesses are often on the move, so you’ll need to be flexible in terms of scheduling and location.
- Promote their business: Besides promoting your own restaurant, you should also advertise the food trucks and pop-ups that you’re working with. This can be done by posting about them on social media or by giving them a shout-out in your restaurant.
- Be fair: Make sure you’re being fair in your dealings with food truck and pop-up owners. Don’t overcharge them for your services or take advantage of their business.
The Decline in the Number of People Eating Out
There has been a decline in the number of people eating out because of the rise in food costs, the looming recession, and the popularity of cooking at home. This decline has had a negative impact on the restaurant industry, as fewer people are dining out and spending less money when they do.
How to Get People Excited about Dining Out Again
Here are some ways to get people excited about dining out again:
- Come up with innovative dishes: One way to get people excited about dining out is to come up with innovative dishes that they can’t make at home. This could be something as simple as a new twist on an old favorite or a completely new dish.
- Create a marketing strategy: Create a vibrant marketing campaign to boost interest in your restaurant. If you know that your target audience is on social media, share photos of your most delicious menu items and advertise promotions during non-peak hours.
- Customer loyalty program: A customer loyalty program gives customers an incentive to dine at your restaurant more often. For example, you can offer a discount or free dessert for every 10th meal they purchase.
Increase Customer Satisfaction with SoundHound for Restaurants
The restaurant business thrives on satisfying customer experiences. If customers are disappointed, they probably won’t come back.
Luckily, technology can help you boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. SoundHound is a voice recognition platform that can help you manage costs while creating an exceptional experience for your customers.
With SoundHound, customers use their voice to order food, and more. This hands-free experience is convenient and easy for customers, which will make them more likely to come back again and again.
Want to learn more about how SoundHound for Restaurants can grow your restaurant business? Get in touch to schedule a free demo today.